Maxis launches Digital Readiness Index for local SMEs to go digital


Now more than ever, digitalisation has become increasingly important. It is no secret that the arrival of the pandemic has spurred the need for digitalisation, and Malaysians are already seeing it being implemented in their daily lives, whether it’s working or schooling from home, online shopping for essentials like groceries, or simply by ordering meals via the Internet.

In order for businesses to thrive, they must adopt digitalisation in their business model, and this includes small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

However, it can be difficult for SMEs to go digital, as many do not know where to start. That is why Maxis has launched the Digital Readiness Index (DRI), an interactive online assessment tool that allows businesses to begin their journey to digitalisation.

Launched this year, the self-assessment tool provides insight for companies on how to use technology to improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

SMEs can benefit greatly from Maxis Business DRI as they can gauge how digitally ready they are and compare their results against the industry benchmark. Plus, it will encourage them to digitalise all aspects of their business.

The three-step roadmap to digitalising a business 

The Maxis Business DRI bases its analysis on three key foundations.

First, Maxis Business DRI will analyse businesses based on customer satisfaction. This is through putting customers first by responding to their needs immediately, providing excellent customer service, and allowing them to contact the business anytime, anywhere.

The next assessment is on employee productivity. This is about making the most out of business manpower to ensure they deliver an efficient and productive performance, whether it means they are working on site or remotely.

The final assessment is based on businesses’ operational efficiency, which measures how well a business seizes every opportunity possible in order to maximise its potential to be ready for anything. 

Overall DRI scores and insights from four key sectors

Over 3,000 local businesses have used the tool since July, and with the results recording a Digital Readiness Index score of 58%, this shows that SMEs in Malaysia are still not ready for digitalisation.

The following are the findings gathered from retail, food & beverages (F&B), manufacturing, and professional services. 

With a DRI score of 60%, both retail and F&B share the same overall score

Businesses in the retail sector scored 64% for efficiency, 53% for productivity, and 61% for customer engagement. Digital payments are used, and they have a high acceptance rate for digital transactions. 

An average number of retail businesses do not use digital tools to promote their products. While they do use social media, they do not utilise other options such as eSMS, which can be a useful way to blast out crucial information, e.g 12.12 sale.

They rely heavily on mobile and Wi-Fi, but they did not invest in any security tools to protect and safeguard company data on their phones. As for connectivity, they did not consolidate connectivity solutions with vendors to enjoy cost savings and benefits.

At 60%, the overall score for F&B is the same as retail, with 61% for efficiency, 55% for productivity, and 66% for customer engagement. While they also accept digital payments, DRI found that only the larger companies use a proper system to digitally manage orders and inventory to reduce wastage.

Aside from social media, no other mediums were used to promote their services or connect with their customers. The level of productivity in the F&B sector is low, and similarly to retail, they do not use any tools to safeguard company information on their mobile devices. 


With a DRI score of 48%, manufacturing scored the lowest

While manufacturing scored a higher efficiency of 54% in comparison to the first two sectors, it scores lower when it comes to productivity and customer engagement, with a score of 46% and 39% respectively. 

On average, manufacturing businesses do not use fleet tracking, cloud or any tools to monitor the machinery in the event that they break down, or are in need of servicing. They do not have data security tools, and they lack an understanding about these data tools. When it comes to their digital use, it is limited to only their mobile devices, Internet connectivity and email.


With a DRI score of 62%, the professional services sector scored the highest among the rest 

This sector has a better DRI compared to the other sectors. This is because they recorded higher levels of efficiency (65%), while productivity was 56% and customer service was 60%.

While a majority of the workload is not on cloud and it is not used to scale their business, they do utilise cloud services, along with mobile data protection. However, most of them lack data security tools.

Digital promo tools used to promote their businesses or connect with customers were confined to social media and emails, while other means such as eSMS were not used. Their use of connectivity was basic, as they did not consolidate with vendors to unlock savings and benefits.

The importance of digitalisation

The results from Maxis Business DRI show that most businesses in the professional sector are almost ready for digitalisation while businesses from retail, F&B and manufacturing are not ready for digitalisation. These findings are invaluable for SMEs as it proves that digitalisation is needed to significantly improve businesses’ efficiency, productivity, and customer service. Enhancing businesses’ digital skills and expanding their connectivity infrastructure is part and parcel of sustainability for the long run.

Aside from gaining vital information about how digital ready they are, businesses are entitled to free consultation and can receive expert advice from the Maxis SME Help Squad, ranging from advice about getting your business back on track with digital marketing, or upskilling your employees.

As business owners, you may claim up to RM5,000 under the SME Digitalisation Grant, which is in line with PENJANA initiatives to drive digital adoption. You can easily apply through Maxis as the Maxis SME Help Squad will do the hard work for you in applying for the loan. It is limited to 100,000 SMEs, so be sure to sign up to enjoy this funding!

Take the Maxis Business DRI and assess your businesses’ digital readiness here.